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News Wrap: Aid for Pakistani Flood Victims Falls Short, Relief Groups Warn

August 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Relief groups warned today that aid for the Pakistan flood victims is falling short with nearly 14 million people affected. Meanwhile, new flooding spread in the Sindh province, in the south.

We have a report from Jonathan Miller of Independent Television News.

JONATHAN MILLER, Independent Television News: You’re looking at a river that became an inland sea. The Indus super flood now slowly but surely drowning central Sindh.

Submerged beneath these contaminated waters, some of the hundreds of thousands of acres of rice, wheat, sugar cane and cotton that’s been lost. Beyond, the ghost village of Chodokon Mastoy (ph), abandoned. A boatload of villagers has made the crossing. A local dog stranded on high ground by the flood has followed them across. The families and livestock all safely out. They had gone back to salvage bamboo poles and other bits and pieces to build a lean-to.

Today is the first Friday in this, the holy month of Ramadan. Inside this tiny mosque, only a handful of worshipers. Most have fled the rising water. Across Pakistan today, prayers being said that the waters will recede.

MAN (through translator): It could be because of what we’ve done. It could be because of our sins that this calamity has befallen us. It could be because of the wrath of God.

JONATHAN MILLER: Under Dadu (ph) Bridge in Sindh, there is a spectator’s gallery. They just sit and watch the river flow.

A relief worker told us today that the Asian tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake were like heart attacks. “This is like a cancer,” he said. “It just keeps spreading.”

HARI SREENIVASAN: In Russia, heavy rain brought much-needed relief to Moscow after weeks of triple-digit heat and drought. Skies were also clear of toxic smog produced by the wildfires. But nearly 30 fires continued burning near the Russian capital, along with nearly 500 more blazes across the country. One was near a top nuclear facility east of Moscow.

The NATO coalition in southern Afghanistan has suffered three more casualties. Two British troops died in the last 24 hours. A third coalition service member was killed today by insurgents. There was no word on his nationality.

California Congresswoman Maxine Waters defended herself today against charges that she violated House ethics rules. Investigators contend the veteran Democrat helped secure bailout funds for a bank where her husband served on the board.

In Washington today, Waters insisted she tried to help minority-owned banks in general, not any single institution.

REP. MAXINE WATERS ,(D-Calif.): I have not violated any House rules. I fully disclosed all of my financial information as requested by House rules. Neither my staff nor I engaged in any improper behavior, and we did not influence anyone. And we did not gain any benefit.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Waters also criticized the Ethics Committee for its handling of her case. She faces a House ethics trial this fall.

Wall Street ended a rough week with its fourth losing day in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 16 points to close at 10,303. The Nasdaq also fell more than 16 points to close at 2,173.

For the week, the Dow lost more than three percent. The Nasdaq fell five percent. Those are some of the day’s major stories. Now back to Jim.